A recent change in my long-term relationship status had me wanting to get out more and socialize with friends. Of course, I started making plans to meet up for drinks. And while I love that cocktails are all the rage again (did they really ever go out of style?) with mixologists stepping up their game and concocting very creative potent potables, it was starting to get pretty expensive.
So instead of paying anywhere from $12 to $18 dollars for these “artisan” cocktails at fancy watering holes and restaurants, I decided it would be fun (and much cheaper) to start entertaining friends at home.
What I found was that my bar, if you could call it that, was basically non-existent – a few bottles of good wine and some random liquor left over from parties past.
I needed to step up my game. I wanted to get a well-stocked bar to ensure my guests could imbibe in their drink of choice, and that I would have options to also create signature cocktails for special occasions.
Here’s what I have now have on hand to suit nearly every occasion and drink preference:
- Rum (light and dark)
- Sherry (dry and sweet)
- Wine (red, white, and sparkling)
- Vermouth (both dry and sweet)
- Triple Sec
- Almond or amaretto flavored liqueur
- Herb infused (like Campari)
- Club soda
- Fruit juice
- Soft drinks
- Sparkling and still waters (flavored and plain)
- Tomato or seasoned vegetable juice
- Tonic water
- Garnishes and Flavorings
- Citrus (lemon, lime, and orange) whole, slices, wedges, or peels
- Coarse salt
- Cocktail onions
- Hot-pepper sauce
- Ice (preferably coarsely crushed)
- Maraschino cherries
- Simple syrup
- Bottle opener
- Citrus squeezer
- Cocktail napkins
- Cocktail shaker
- Cutting board
- Dish towel
- Drink stirrers
- Ice bucket
- Paring knife
While it’s great have all this on hand, you might want to start small. Buy what you like to drink and expand over time. You can get what you need for specific parties or celebrations as they come up. You don’t want to end up spending a lot on alcohol and just having it sit there unopened.
For me, having a well-stocked bar also meant having a place to keep everything. Living in a city apartment means I don’t have a wet bar. I love all the new/retro bar carts, but was already tight on space. So, instead I decided to convert an old armoire and use it as a bar. My best friend calls it “The Barmoire”. It’s still a work in progress.